Joseph A. Soares, Meagan Robichaud


DuBois (2007) began a broad and rich tradition of investigating multi-racial identities and interracial relations. Today, much of the empirical research on race takes place at the level of higher education.  Racial identities and racial friendship networks in college have been investigated by many researchers. Several researchers have found that interracial interactions positively affect cognitive outcomes and college satisfaction for all students.  Yet, studies that have explored the relationship between the attitudes of minority students and educational outcomes have mixed findings.  Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen, this study examines how minority students’ racial self-identity affects college cumulative GPA and various measures of college satisfaction and whether the effects of self-identity (attitudes) are separate from those of interracial friendship circles (behaviors).  Results of this study show that, for Black and Hispanic students, embracing a racial-group identity (Black or Hispanic) or a compound identity (Black-American or Hispanic-American) over identifying primarily as an American does not affect college GPA but does negatively impact some measures of college satisfaction; furthermore, the effects of self-identity are separate from the consequences of having few interracial friendships.  Finally, racial identity did not significantly affect Asian student satisfaction or GPA.


Race, racial self-identification, higher education, GPA, college satisfaction

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